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BUDI TEK, THE TRAILBLAZING MUSEUM FOUNDER and contemporary art collector, died on March 18 in Hong Kong of pancreatic cancer, ARTnews Editor-in-Chief Sarah Douglas reports. He was 65. Tek, who was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents in 1957, began acquiring art less than two decades ago, in 2004, but quickly became a leader in the field. He brought together more than 1,500 pieces, with a focus on Asian artists. Tek established his first private museum, the Yuz Museum in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2006, and inaugurated a larger branch in Shanghai in 2014. Intent on building a lasting legacy for the institution, he partnered with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Qatar Museums on programming and other initiatives. “Budi was a true patron and a true friend to artists,” Marc Glimcher, Pace Gallery’s president and CEO, told ARTnews, saying that he “helped establish Shanghai as a global art center.”
DECISIONS, DECISIONS. Let’s say you have around $3 million or so burning a hole in your pocket. Two recent, high-profile sales represent the vast array of ways you can spend it. First, a Peter Paul Rubens portrait sold for the equivalent of about $3.4 million at Desa Unicum in Warsaw on Thursday, setting a record for an artwork on the block in Poland, the Associated Press reports. Record aside, that price was actually below the $4.5 million low estimate attached to the work. The next day, per the AP , a copy of the first issue of Marvel Comics, from 1939, went for about $2.43 million via ComicConnect. This handsome publication was a so-called “pay copy,” with notations from the publisher about how much various writers and artists were to be compensated. The artist responsible for the cover, Frank R. Paul, was slated to receive a fee of $25.
On Sunday, Ukrainian leaders said that Russia had bombed an art school in Mariupol that was being used as a shelter. The claim could not be immediately verified. [The Washington Post]
A property developer plans to install a 60-foot-tall headless demon by Damien Hirst on the Greenwich Peninsula in London. The grand work debuted in Hirst’s divisive 2017 show in Venice; another example of the editioned piece was unveiled in 2019 at the Palms resort in Las Vegas. [The Art Newspaper]
The Venice Biennale, which opens next month, will include spectral portraits that artist Kaari Upson made shortly before she died last year at the age of 51. Journalist Jori Finkel paid a visit to Upson’s studio, and spoke to close interlocutors about her work. [The New York Times]
Dealer and collector Ivor Braka, and a company with his name, Ivor Braka Ltd., are facing legal action from two groups that say Braka and the firm failed to respond to questions about royalties that may be owed on the resale of artworks. “I don’t deal in my personal capacity,” Braka told journalist Anny Shaw, and he declined to comment about his company. [The Art Newspaper]
Archaeologists working in Saqqara, near Cairo, have found five tombs of senior officials from the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate periods, dating back more than 4,000 years. [Reuters]
ARCHIVE FEVER. The papers of Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt are now available on the website of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, the artists’ foundation said. Meanwhile, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, Michigan, is showing selections from the archives of Frida Kahlo ‘s family, per ArtDaily.
THE PUBLIC SQUARE. Tate’s director, Maria Balshaw, is serving up seven lectures at Cambridge as its Slade professor this year, and a Financial Times profile offers an illuminating look at those talks , which frame the museum as a place for robust conversation, debate, and even controversy. Summarizing some of her thinking, Balshaw has written that museums “purport (mainly) to be about the past, but they are actually about the present (services for people now) and the future (the archive).” Food for thought. [FT]